Friday will be a night of reunions as the Boston Bruins visit the Florida Panthers.
Bruins winger Jimmy Hayes and Panthers counterpart Reilly Smith will face their respective former teams for the first time since swapping uniforms in an offseason trade, and former B’s fan favorite Shawn Thornton will take on his old mates for the fifth time since leaving Boston after the 2013-14 season.
“It’s always fun playing against some of your buddies,” Hayes told reporters at morning skate, via FloridaPanthers.com. “I was just here last year. It’s exciting. (The Panthers are) a hard-working team, have some talented players up front. They’re young, similar to us, play a strong north-south game. They’ve been scoring goals, too, so it’s a real good test for us.”
The only player missing from the party will be veteran Panthers winger Jaromir Jagr, who is unlikely to play against his former team as he deals with a lower body injury.
The Bruins, meanwhile, are expected to be without fourth-line center Joonas Kemppainen, who suffered a lower body injury of his own during Tuesday’s win over the Arizona Coyotes. Winger David Pastrnak and defenseman Kevan Miller also were dinged up in that game, but both are expected to play against the Panthers.
Here are Friday’s projected lines and pairings, as reported by the teams:
BOSTON BRUINS (4-3-1)
Brad Marchand — Patrice Bergeron — Brett Connolly
Loui Eriksson — David Krejci — David Pastrnak
Matt Beleskey — Ryan Spooner — Jimmy Hayes
Zac Rinaldo — Joonas Kemppainen — Tyler Randell
Zdeno Chara — Kevan Miller
Torey Krug — Adam McQuaid
Joe Morrow — Colin Miller
FLORIDA PANTHERS (5-3-1)
Jonathan Huberdeau — Nick Bjugstad — Jussi Jokinen
Brandon Pirri — Vincent Trocheck — Reilly Smith
Quinton Howden — Dave Bolland — Logan Shaw
Connor Brickley — Derek MacKenzie — Shawn Thornton
Brian Campbell — Aaron Ekblad
Willie Mitchell — Erik Gudbranson
Dmitry Kulikov — Alex Petrovic
Thumbnail photo via Robert Mayer/USA TODAY Sports Images
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